Don’t take the high road….
On the 18th September this year the people of Scotland will vote on whether they should become an independent country and leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Well, in truth, only people living in Scotland will get the vote. Scots living elsewhere have been disenfranchised. As have the rest of us in the UK.
It is like going through a divorce when only one party gets to go before a judge. Worse still, they have opened up the vote to the petulant youth – 16 and 17 year old teenagers who have sufficient energy to drag themselves out of their pits will also be able to condemn the Union to history.
Now I am not a Scot. I am English, British and European. But, some of my best friends are Scottish. I once regularly drove for ten hours from Nuneaton to Aberdeen to date a proud, flame-haired Scottish lassie. And I, for one, do not want to separate.
Scotland is a beautiful land. A proud nation. A wonderful culture. And, a country which has consistently punched above its weight!
I am keen to avoid the more obvious stereotypes – ginger-haired men in skirts, deep-fried Mars bars, and a Yorkshireman devoid of all humour and generosity.
And, I am reluctant to get drawn into debate over ownership of the pound (however, both of the Bank of Scotland and England were founded by a Scot) offshore oil reserves, membership of the European Union, the split of debt, and the fate of Trident.
Instead, I prefer to celebrate just a few of the successes of this great country and give just a few examples of how these British Isles and wider world have been enriched by those from North of the Border.
Scotland has led the world in the field of communication and technology, giving us the fax machine, television, film and the telephone. Many lives have been saved following the discovery of penicillin. Radar, the toaster, the bicycle and the thermos flask, Bovril and modern road construction are just a few of the myriad inventions, creations and innovations all of Scottish origin.
A warrior nation with a proud military heritage – it has been said that the British Empire was built on bullets from Birmingham and bodies from Scotland (and Ireland). And, the Scottish influence has also spread far and wide in peaceful times – a Scot published the first English language Bible in the USA; the first millionaire in Australia was a Scot, as was the founder of the New York Herald, and the Buick car company. To name but a few.
I could go on.
I have no doubt that Scotland would flourish as an independent country. I know that the United Kingdom would be diminished if there was a separation.
Of course, it hasn’t all been good news – you gave us Gordon Brown, Ian Brady, George Galloway and Frankie Boyle. But, the benefits far outweigh the few downsides.
But, as in any successful marriage, one partner can only succeed if supported by the other. It is about give and take and mutual respect. It is about communication, working together and having each others’ back.
I hope you vote “No”!